Reading is an all-important skill not just in the educational realm, but in your daily life as well. Newsfeeds and blogs may have replaced newspapers, but they still require critical literacy skills to understand current events and take stances on important issues. Books and magazines still abound, even on eReaders, and many families choose to turn away from television and movies, finding accessible online reading materials to be less expensive and more informational. If you have school age children in your life, you have probably noticed the necessary focus given to reading in their curriculum. It’s common knowledge that children who show the strongest school performance in this area are those who practice the most at home. Here are some ways to encourage your young reader.
Set the Example
Let your children see you reading, not just for work, but for pleasure. Consider setting aside family reading time at least once a week, and incorporate appropriate discussion of books and magazines at the dinner table or in the car. Ask your children questions about what they are reading, and have them ask the same questions of you. If you show kids you use reading as an important method for gaining information and expanding your perspective, they will come to see the value in it, too.
Make Books a Treat
Help young readers find books on subjects that pique their interests. Rather than bribe them to read, find what books excite them and use those as rewards. Already avid readers will appreciate any book, no matter what its condition, but for struggling or casual readers, consider new books. While these might be more expensive at suggested retail, many online shops abound that offer significant discounts and inexpensive shipping to your door. This is not only a good method for surprise gifts, but for creating a teachable moment in delayed gratification as well.
Find Applications for Positive Reading Experiences
On the flip side of scouting reading material that pertain to a child’s interests, use what interesting things they find reading to engage in other learning experiences. If your child is excited by a book on dinosaurs, consider taking them to a museum. If they enjoy learning about construction equipment, point out rigs and building sites as you drive through town. If your child has a favourite character, help them create a costume and let them act out scenes from the book.
Take the Pressure Off
If your young reader is struggling with their performance, particularly in school, keep the focus off that. Reading is not an activity done for a grade, but a necessary life-long skill that can be enjoyable. Take time to read to them, and let them feel comfortable asking you for help in pronouncing words, and if appropriate, show them how to look up words they don’t know. Take turns with them reading aloud, letting them catch their own mistakes before you point them out. If they can read but are self-conscious, ask them to read to younger children who don’t know how. An admiring audience can boost their self-confidence.